Peter Gagarin 0

Stop the ban on carrying GPS devices with a visible display

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Orienteering USA rules contain the following section about GPS devices: "B.36.4 The use of any navigation aid other than a compass is prohibited (e.g. transport, electronic apparatus, radio, pedometer, altimeter)." 

This has been interpreted by the Rules Committee as follows: "The rules prohibit the use of such devices for navigation. The rules ask event organizers to be responsible for enforcement. Therefore, while it is not required to ban such devices from the course, organizers are within their authority to do so as a method of rule enforcement for their event." 

The result has been that the carrying of a GPS device with a visible display has been banned at two major events already this year. 

Reason for the petition -- 

1. The reason for the ban is to promote fairness, or, put differently, prevent cheating. There is no evidence that GPS devices have been used to cheat. If there are serious concerns about fairness, then the effort should be directed towards infractions of rule B.35.3 (A competitor shall not seek to obtain unfair advantage over fellow competitors, nor intentionally run with or behind other competitors during the event in order to profit from their skill.) and rule B.35.6 (A competitor wishing to retain eligibility shall not seek to obtain an unfair advantage by communicating with other competitors, team officials, event officials, journalists, spectators or others before or during the competition.).

2. The GPS devices are being used to record the routes taken and not for navigation. They are both instructive and fun for use in post-race analysis.

3. It is in the interest of Orienteering USA to promote orienteering as both fair and fun. This ban removes some of the fun, but makes it no more fair. 

We ask the Board of Directors to stop the ban on carrying GPS devices with a visible display. 

Note: For events under IOF rules (such as World Ranking events), the ban in the IOF rules will still apply, but just for those classes covered by the IOF rules.


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